The first confirmed cases of coronavirus are being reported in the Caribbean, after authorities in the Dominican Republic on Sunday confirmed that an Italian national was checked into a Santo Domingo hospital over the weekend.
In addition, the Regional Health Agency of Guadeloupe confirmed three cases after a resident of the French overseas territory of St. Barthélemy and his parents, currently in isolation in a hospital in St. Martin, tested positive for COVID-19. Caribbean health ministers and prime ministers, meeting Sunday to discuss how to confront the virus, were informed of the cases.
The arrival of the coronavirus in the Caribbean opens up a new front in the fight to contain the virus. This is especially true in the case of the Dominican Republic, which has a population of 11 million and shares a porous border with Haiti. A popular tourist destination, the Dominican Republic has frequent sea and air connections to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Eastern seaboard.